Monthly Archives: April 2018


What’s Blooming April 26, 2018

Koreanspice Viburnum – Viburnum carlesii


Viburnum is a genus of shrubs consisting of more than 150 species, most of which are found in the Northern Hemisphere. They are ecologically valuable in their native habitats, providing food and shelter to countless insects, birds, and mammals. A fair number of viburnum species have also become popular garden and landscape plants. Take a look at any viburnum, and it’s easy to see why.

One particularly attractive species is Viburnum carlesii, a deciduous shrub native to Korea and Japan and commonly known as Koreanspice viburnum. It has a natural rounded form and reaches about 6 feet tall to 6 feet wide. Like most viburnums, its form and foliage make it appealing even when it isn’t flowering or fruiting; however, its flowering stage is the moment you definitely want to experience.

Dome-shaped clusters of red-to-pink buds form at the tips of branches. As they open, pink flowers turn to white. The flowers are abundant and highly fragrant. Their scent has been described as spicy vanilla or spice cake. Their fragrance is currently filling the air in the English Garden, where additional viburnum species can be found flanking a massive and impressive bulb display. Don’t miss it.


Written by IBG collections curator, Daniel Murphy


What’s Blooming April 2018

Prairie Smoke – Geum triflorum


One of the first wildflowers to bloom in the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden is a low-growing plant in the rose family. Patches of fern-like leaves green up quickly in the spring, followed by a series of upright, mostly leafless stems that reach anywhere from a few inches to over a foot tall. Three bell-shaped flowers are borne atop each stem, which bend at the top to face the flowers downward.

Pink to red sepals and small, pointed bracts encase each of the flowers. The petals, which are white or light pink, are barely visible. After the flowers are pollinated, they turn to face upwards. The styles of the flowers persist and grow up to two inches long. They also become hairy, which gives the seed head a feathery appearance and explains one of the plant’s common names, old man’s whiskers.

Geum triflorum is widespread throughout western North America and occurs in dry to moist open areas in montane and subalpine regions. Where it is abundant, the collective seed heads create the appearance of a low-lying haze, hence its other common name, prairie smoke.

See prairie smoke blooming now in the Prairie Zone of Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden.


Written by IBG collections curator, Daniel Murphy